2023 Catherine and Charles Freeburg Fellow
The purpose of the Catherine and Charles Freeburg Fellows Program is to encourage, facilitate, and highlight excellent research in the humanities and cognate disciplines at the University of Memphis. This program allows recipients to write and research in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment alongside other research-active faculty members and advanced doctoral students. By supporting and showcasing the research being conducted by our faculty and students, these fellowships strengthen the ties between the university and local community and demonstrate the vital role played by the humanities in our culture. The program is named in honor of Catherine and Charles Freeburg, whose bequest funds it. The Freeburgs were involved with the University for many years. Catherine Freeburg received an MA in English in 1972 and taught in the department for a number of years. Charles and Catherine were both active members of the Memphis community and supported many organizations. The couple met when Catherine began working as a realtor for Freeburg and Hammond, Charles' real estate company. They lived on Tuckahoe, very near the UofM, their entire married lives.
Verner D. Mitchell, Professor of African American Literature, Department of English
Dr. Mitchell is a professor of African American Literature in the Department of English. He received his Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University and previously taught at the U. S. Air Force Academy. His research and teaching interests include the Harlem Renaissance, Black Women Writers, African Americans in the military, and the Black Arts Movement.
His most recent book (co-authored with Dr. Cynthia Davis) is Images in the River: The Life and Work of Waring Cuney, published by Texas Tech University Press (2024), as part of its Afro-Texans series. Hitherto, no books or monographs have been written on the Harlem Renaissance poet and World War II veteran William Waring Cuney (1906-1976). Other recent publications include Encyclopedia of the Black Arts Movement (Rowman & Littlefield 2019), several journal articles, and a review of MacArthur Fellow Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (2021).
Mitchell serves on the University Faculty Appeals Committee, he chairs the Department of English Tenure and Promotion Committee, and he co-edits the journal Studies in American Culture.